Do You Have A Plan?

Today’s (admittedly minor) earthquake in the DC area reminded me that I need to get my emergency plans in order once again. I have let things slip a bit.

I always try to have a plan with the wife to evacuate to a certain place. In the past it was to a meeting place in the Dells. Now it is at our farm property.

I have to admit, learning how to run a farm has given me a feeling of freedom. It is in a pretty out of the way place, somewhere that not many people would think of going. We have a backup generator and are on a well, so clean water for our animals (and us) is no problem. We have a ton of hay stacked up at all times so we would be able to make it through winter if the animals were not able to be on pasture. My garden harvest this year was spectacular and I now have enough canned vegetables to last a very long time. We always have plenty of chicken food around so eggs are always in abundance. We are pretty good to go, as long as the farm can be defended. I imagine we are good enough friends by now with most of the local farmers that this will not be an issue. We have helped farmers with donations of hay when they have run short and that has helped form a bond with a lot of the local ag coummunity. Everyone has guns and ammo and I assume if the sh1t hits the fan, we would all bond and help each other by sharing the wealth.

But most people don’t have this opportunity. What is your plan if you live in a high rise in New York and an earthquake hits? Do you at least have fresh water and food available for a week? A heat source if it happens in winter? Do you have a way to defend yourself and your family? Do you have a meeting place in the chance that the cell networks go down and the kids are at school and you and your mate are at work?

I think it imperative that everyone have at least a very basic plan in place. You can get food and fresh water survival packs from Amazon that will last you weeks if needed. Have a plan of some sort to unite with your loved ones if there is a major natural disaster or act of terrorism. Plan ahead. Review the plan every year or two.

26 thoughts on “Do You Have A Plan?”

  1. If the shite hits the fan, Dan can say he knew a bunch of interesting people back before the Big Die-Off.

  2. “Bring guns and ammo and be ready to work.”

    (channeling my inner Homer Simpson)

    Must . . . resist . . . making fun . . . of . . . logical contradictions . . . of Dan From Madison . . .

  3. OK, I can come over to help, and I will leave my weapons and ammo at home.

    Seriously now, the problem you solve with the generator is one of reliability or lack thereof of the electric power grid. There is an impetus to be able to live off-grid, either temporarily in an emergency or perhaps on a more permanent basis, and this impetus comes across the political spectrum from anarchists, survivalists, environmentalists, and just plain people being prepared.

    The thing about the grid and the attendant interdependence and vulnerability is that the grid offers tremendous efficiency and economy of scale over the alternatives. A secure grid and abundant, reliable, and low-cost electricity is the characteristic of First World and the things possible in the First World and not in the Third World. The Third World is characterized by sparse or spotty electric infrastructure and reliability and by the heavy use of . . . gasoline generators!

    The problem I have with the gasoline generator is that it uses so much gas for the amount of electricity it produces — part of this is matching the size of the generator to the load to operate the generator at the most efficient level, something the grid does ever so effectively and something the portable gasoline generator does not. For many disaster scenarios, and the most common one in the Midwest is not an earthquake but a simple ice storm, the problem is the amount of gasoline you need to have on hand or be able to purchase. I guess you can stretch out your gas by running your generator only a need to basis for part of the day, much as what is done in the Third World with these things.

    I saw one estimate that if it were not for sparse or non-existent electric power infrastructure, perhaps as much as 30 million barrels per day could be reduced out of the 80 or so million barrels per day of world oil consumption. In other words, a proper electric grid can substitute for all of the portable generators along with the gasoline powered tools of the pre-electric age used all around the world, and the electricity can come from natural gas, much of which is simply “flared” owing to the absence of use for it, hydro, coal.

    And it seems that with Green Power and Smart Grid, we are moving things in the Third World direction on the power grid. Which has consequences, not just in terms of inconvenience of supply interruption, but the greater reliance on much less thermally efficient backup power, which is an anti-environmental unintended consequence, but a scenario for which their is ample evidence in parts of the world that never developed a proper electric infrastructure.

  4. Paul – I have farmer friends with enormous underground diesel tanks that fuel their tractors and other farm equipment. And that is what my generator runs on. Part of being integrated with the farm community. We all would no doubt work together in a crisis.

    I don’t have any illusions of being able to live forever without power/utilities but I am far better off than most. Hence my post above encouraging folks without these means to have at least a very basic survival plan.

  5. If the shiit hits the fan … and guns and ammo are needed for defense, won’t there be large and well armed dangerous gangs roaming the countryside? I’m on a small farm too, not close to any large cities. But if hunger and chaos ever took hold in the cities, I’d want a lot of competent friends to move here with me for safety. I suppose the National Guard would be around, or maybe the UN would send in the blue helmets. heh

    I’m also rather new to farming, and haven’t taken on any livestock yet (though I feed a lot of deer). Grapes and a garden are good and not so demanding. I recommend a small vineyard … wine is easy. A 100 vines or so can be sprayed every couple weeks with a little backpack sprayer. I started some fruit trees as well.

    Hopefully we don’t get close to that environment, but we seem to be marching in that direction for now.

  6. Bill, I think that armed gangs would take to the cities more than hiking/driving out to the country where they know everyone is completely armed to the teeth. In a crisis/natural disaster most people will be shooting first and asking questions later. Once the initial stores of fuel run out there is practically zero chance a gang will walk to the rural areas.

    Most criminals are pretty lazy and I would imagine they would go for the low hanging fruit.

    Interesting thoughts on the grapes, I would certainly need cold tolerant varieties. Maybe I should look at planting hops too.

  7. Dan, it sounds like you have a stand alone generator. Did you give any consideration to a generator utilizing the PTO of a tractor or truck? I just “went over” my little 4kw gasoline generator (in anticipation of Hurricane Irene) and it has me thinking about the possibility of upgrading (in addition to having further rationalization for the purchase a tractor).

  8. Dan and Bill – in thinking about the old econ paper on the use of cigarettes as currency in WWII POW camps, I’m guessing alcoholic beverages would be a handy means of exchange in a “post-cash” environment.

    So those hops & grapes could be very useful crops indeed.

  9. Hey, part of mine and my daughter’s SHTF post-apocalypse involves setting up as brewers and vintners and swapping beer and wine for neccessary stuff. When it all goes pear-shaped, we’ll be there at the farm, with a Montero SUV packed tight with our brewing stuff,and a couple of spare cats for your barn.
    And we’ll bring the cheese-making stuff, too.

  10. We were recently without power for five days after a wind storm. Generators certainly drink the gas, so it is only a short term answer really. Mine is 6000 watt, and went through about 12 gallons a day. A tractor engine might be more efficient … I don’t know.

    An air tight little wood stove is pretty efficient too, with a CO detector. Trading hootch might be good … I’ve got the 100 year old family barn ready for some milk cows …

    The real SHTF scenario may be different than most think. The banksters and their politicians put us on the hook for trillions … maybe they raise taxes outrageously and start confiscating properties for tax delinquency. Then the pitchforks come out, but they all hide in compounds.

    A tea party wave in 2012 is a better solution. :)

  11. Dammit, Dan – work with us! Something that produces milk, in the event of the apocalypse! Our cheese is darned good, too. On our way out of town, we promise to loot the local Home Brew Party outlet of anything useful … one of the managers even said he would leave the door open for us, in that event!

  12. When I lived at the beach, one marriage ago, we had a lot of power outages because the lines were old and tangled in trees, etc. That was also 1979 and the peak of the gas shortages. I had a 550 gallon tank put in my side yard. It was of course illegal so I did it myself with a back how and a fork lift. I got rid of all my gasoline cars and got all diesels. I got an account at a small oil company that also serviced a school bus yard about a half mile from my house. They would come by once a month to fill my tank. I had a small electric pump (weak spot) to fill the cars. There was no meter to show how much fuel had flowed so I would turn on the ignition and watch the fuel gauge. I was planning to install a Chinese diesel powered generator for power outages but never got around to it.

    None of my neighbors ever commented on an oil truck pulling into my driveway once a month. The tank is still there and I wonder if any owners have ever found it. It was partly covered by a brick patio and a flower bed covered the rest with the vent coming up in the flower bed. I sold the house in a divorce, sadly, and it appreciated a bit over a million dollars since then.

  13. Dan, any chance that you might ever get a lady beef cattle? Possibly to breed? Surely *they* must produce milk. (?)

  14. Yes, they do, that is for sure. But our Highlands are pretty much grass fed and roam on pasture. Not sure how the mommas would take to a stanchion but I guess if worse came to worse…also, I have no clue how milk from a Highland rates on the nutritional scale but I suppose it would be better than nothing.

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